Precision

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Precision is not my forte. I would like to think it is my forte but, truly it is not. Craig, the Hubbalicious, however IS precision personified. If there are two different routes to a location, he will drive them each, time them and factor in the variables and always take the shorter of the two. Craig has a mathematical brain, whilst I have more of an artist brain. I rarely cook with a recipe, though I am having quite the Nigella moment over here. (I am of the opinion that Nigella is the Ann & Kay of the food world.)

When Craig and I were engaged, I was making scones one morning. As I chopped the nuts (which I had not measured),

Craig: “Um Honey, what are you doing?”

Me: “Adding hazelnuts.”

Craig:”You can’t add those!”

Me:”Why not?”

Craig: “They are not in the recipe!”

You get my point. So, many months ago I made a sample block with some fabric I had bought to make Angus a quilt. Over the long weekend, I picked the fabrics and cut roughly 596 pieces to make Angus a Barn Raising Log Cabin Quilt. I used my trusty Log Cabin Ruler. I will confess I had the niggling little thought- “Do I really want to cut these out all at once?” I cut, piled and got the cutting done. Then next day, I began to make the blocks. The were off. Worse, every time I added a new piece of fabric, it got worse. Each piece became consecutively longer and more off. I tried this about 5 times, with 5 different blocks. I was in deep despair.

What is a gal to do? Call in the Big Guns, that’s what. I grabbed the instructions, a quilting ruler and my beautiful but off block. Knock, knock, knock, Honey I really need your help. Craig, bless him, measured, figured, calculated, measured some more and then delivered the Bad News. 16ths, 8ths, some unconventional *cough* cutting methods and seam allowance had all conspired- it was hopeless. With the fabric I had cut, I couldn’t make the Log Cabin idea work. After I stopped being so upset and aggravated with myself, I decided to make Lemonade from Lemons as it were. I will sew all the strips together (I have a light and a dark for each length) and make something beautiful for my boy. Sigh. Yet again Precision kicks me in the rear.


Memorial Day

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As we head into the Memorial Day weekend and officially kick off summer, I wanted to share with you something I wrote for family and friends several weeks ago. I did not know Cpt Weikel, he was a comrade of my cousin who is currently doing his 2nd tour in Iraq, and I went to represent our family and pay my respects. Have a safe holiday and please take a moment to remember the true meaning of Memorial Day.

Yesterday was a remarkable day and I am not certain I can do it justice, but I will do my best. Arlington National Cemetery is a paradox. It is one of the most beautiful, quiet, leafy places. The birds sing and the trees shade you as you walk. And then you remember why you are there and how many people have come there for the same reason for many many years. Yesterday we were there to honor CPT Ian Weikel. CPT Weikel was awarded the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star, both were presented to CPT Weikel’s widow, Wendy, by General Anderson. Additionally, Wendy was presented with a case for the burial flag. General Anderson spoke of how highly regarded CPT Weikel was by all who knew him, including his senior officers. Clearly CPT Weikel loved what he did and excelled at being a soldier.

The caisson, with three riders and one riderless horse took CPT Weikel to his final resting place. Over three hundred people followed the caisson to the gravesite. There were many active military whom had traveled from near and far to honor CPT Weikel. I have never seen such a display of patches, braids, medals, nor have I ever seen such shiny shoes. My favorite was a soldier who was clearly Calvary. He wore his spurs over dress his shoes. There were many retired military as well as Patriot Guard Riders. These folks are phenomenal. More than twenty came, there were twenty Harleys and many of them had two riders. All of them carried very large American flags, which at the end of the service they made an alley with the flags for Wendy to walk through to the limousine, so in her grief, she could be shielded from the crowd. They did not know CPT Weikel but came to honor him and they do this for any soldier they can. We all walked shoulder to shoulder in the crowd that had an amazing cross section of Americans: bikers, soldiers, mothers, and friends.

The graveside service was beautiful. There was a 21 gun salute, Taps was played, as was America the Beautiful, and there was ceremonial Bagpipe playing. CPT Weikel’s pastor from his church in Texas gave a very moving eulogy about the passion with which CPT Weikel lived his life. The passion with which he loved his wife, his God and the Army was fierce. The pastor spoke of the impact that CPT Weikel had on so many people. This was apparent again by the sheer number of people there, including several West Point cadets who had been given permission to have the day off to pay their respects. Both Wendy and CPT Weikel’s mother were presented with flags.

We were standing in the shade and the Army band was playing America the Beautiful while the sun shone on the headstones of Fallen Soldiers and I began to understand. It was as if I heard the word Brotherhood for the very first time. I recalled a moment of Candace and Matthew’s wedding when I was talking to Roman Izzo. He said “Don’t call us Heroes, it really is offensive. It shows disrespect to each and every one of our brothers who has gone before us and given the Ultimate Sacrifice.” I get it now, even though I thought I understood it then. Watching the ceremony at Arlington, with the leaves and the birds and gravesite, for the first time I really began to understand that Freedom isn’t Free. I knew it but did not understand it. I have never been more proud to be an American. It was so very humbling to know that so very many people who I have never met or will meet, stand tall every single day so that I can have the life I have. They stand tall to protect my children. And they consider it a privilege, an honor. Up until yesterday, I thought I knew what Honor was. I had no idea. As a civilian, I am certain I will never understand it fully yet yesterday gave me a glimpse of what Honor is. There is a lump in my throat, tears in my eyes and pride in my heart to know that CPT Ian Weikel gave the Ultimate Sacrifice for us all. Let us do what Christian has told us to do, Deserve It. We can never repay the Ultimate Sacrifice however, we can not squander it. May God rest your soul Captain Ian Weikel and thank you for your gift which we can never repay. God Bless America. God Bless those who keep America safe, we are forever in your debt.

Fickle Fickle Fickle

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Frog Pond for the Sock. I was about one inch from the toe decreases and I realized I just wasn’t that happy with it. Yes, I know I gave all that Sunshine and Light talk about knitting on and keeping the sock as a memento. Hooey! Crap! Frog it Baby.

Then I was on a roll. Which resulted in this, and this.

Good For The Soul (Sole) I tell you.

The other thing good for the Soul? My peonies. When we left Seattle we left many, many peonies. About 25 bushes and 2 trees. It broke my heart. So I have been slowly building up my stash. One of my favorite things about them is that as soon as the bud shows color, you can cut them and they will continue to open in the vase. After a few days of contemplating it, I did it. I realized they are mine to do with what I want. I cut them all and put them in a vase so as to enjoy them more easily. The Dark ones are Karl Rosenfeld, the Bright Pink are Kansas and the Pale Pink are Sarah Bernhardt. Heaven.

Sheep & Wool Spoils

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Roving Around. Here we have some Blue Moon Fiber Arts Super Merino in Hot Flash. The Other Wad is also BMFA but Merino & Kid Mohair, also in Hot Flash. We thought they were both the Super Merino and had an Oops moment when we realized they were different. Lord Knows what these will become and truthfully it doesn’t matter. It is just fun to use my Turkish Drop Spindle and some awesomely dyed roving.

Blue is normally not my color, but this is such a beautiful color that I found it hard to resist. Especially when it is Three Waters Farm Wool/Alpaca. Yummy. It wants to be a cardigan, I think. The Green, also Three Waters Farm Wool/Alpaca, is awesome. I was thinking of using a bit of it on the cuffs on the Cardigan but worry that while I think it is cute now, in a few years I might not like it.





Also from Three Waters is some Superwash Merino in Aunt Maude’s Mauve.



This is some Cestari, a local Virginia Yarn, which will become Holiday Vests for the Small Hollering Boys. If I can get them to wear the vests, even if it is just for a photograph I will be very pleased.

Here is Frog being a whacko. Yes, he climbed the window screen to the top. And yes, he is chewing on my ball winder.


Sock(s)

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We are having the most beautiful Spring. Last year there was no Spring, just a very long wet Winter and then one day I opened the back door and was hit by the Blast Furnace that is Virginia in the Summer. We were robbed, especially since it was such a hot humid Summer. This year, Spring has gone on forever and I am loving it. I am sure that by putting this in writing I am cursing myself and it will be distressingly H-O-T in no time. Emily and M were laughing at me and my thinking that there is actually Humidity in Virginia. Well, yes living in Alabama I suppose you really Do Know Humidity. But after 15-ish years living in Seattle my ability to even cope in a place where there Sunshine is questionable. For the record, I love the Weather in Seattle. Love it. And it is easy to spot the tourists, they are the ones with umbrellas.

Socks for a nice Spring Day are called for,No? What should I call these? I love the colors and the stripes. The yarn is Koigu purchased from God Knows Where. The pattern is Simple Sock from Socks Soar. The pattern calls for ribbing the whole leg and the instep but because I wanted stripes, no ribbing- except for about an inch at the top. There are some rookie mistakes but all in all I am happy with it so far.I was going to Frog them, instead I think I will knit on and keep these as a reminder of where I started as a Sock Knitter.


This is the same pattern but with the ribbing, using Mystery Yarn that was gifted to me by my still as unrevealed Secret Pal 7. Hey- SP7, could you let me know at least the fiber content and washing instructions? An anonymous comment would be great, if you still wish to remain unnamed. (Sorry for the Blurry Picture)


And last, this is headed for the Frog Pond as the Pink/Orange is coming off on my fingers. It was a gift of Knit Picks Color Your Own from Tammy and I did not set the dye properly. Can I retro-set the dye, does anyone know? I love the color. I used Wilton and Vinegar. Please advise!


Have a Great Monday!

Fan Club President

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Oh my GOODNESS. That was SO much Fun. I adore Emily. She is hysterically funny. What can I say? I could not be happier that I got the harebrained idea to invite her to come to Maryland Sheep & Wool. It could be dicey, you know “Hey come someplace you have never been with somebody you don’t know and hang out.” Really it could not have gone better. Phew. I wasn’t nervous but I am relieved that it was so much fun.


How cute is she?

There so so much to say about what a blast the past few days have been like. The dinner, looking into my living room and seeing Emily read books to the small hollering boys who LOVE Mr & Mrs Ivey. Angus has a huge obsession with Alabama and when M started talking to him about Chucky the Alligator, I thought he was going to expire in the sheer joy of it. And, um Emily tried to teach Angus to say Roll Tide. Christian and Matthew if you read this, I am so sorry she brought him a Tide T-shirt. Yea, um, Em…Two Words: Beat Bama! But the Boys LOVE the T-shirts. And I love the Trekking she brought me some beautiful aubergine Trekking. And an Orange Chibi. I had no idea there was even an Orange Chibi.

Then there was the actual Sheep & Wool Festival. This was my second year and it seemed WAY more crowded this year. I was pretty restrained with the Yarn Purchases. Except, you know that seemingly genteel Emily? She is a force. She is a pusher, okay maybe pusher is too strong, maybe she is more of a nudger. How else could I have thought of buying a Turkish drop spindle and a Huge Wad of Blue Moon Fiber Arts roving in the Hot Flash colorway from the folks at The Fold. There was no STR by the time we got there. They sold 800 skeins in One Hour. Can you imagine? There was similar Carnage with the Koigu. I brought a camping back pack, last year I had to work really hard to shut the darned thing. This year, I had to pack it carefully but there was no stuffing. I bought some of my Fave Yarn from Three Waters Farm, the Wool & Alpaca. I bought a ton last year and a bit less this year but Mary Ann remembered me from last year. How great did that feel? A kajillion people and she remembered me? Awesome. They are only about 5 hours away and if they offered weekend workshops, I would go. Mary Ann and Stephen are so kind and the vibe is wonderful. More people I think I could really stick to. Yea, I have met them twice for a grand total of 10 minutes. Call me impulsive.

And Emily, gracious? Holy Southern Manners Batman! So, let me say it now for all to hear: Beltway, I HATE YOU WITH A PASSION THAT BURNS IN MY SOUL. YOU ARE EVIL EVIL EVIL. And I have a few choice words for you too, Baltimore-Washington Parkway. So after being spent and having our rears kicked by more fiber than you can imagine and after being blinded by some really awful variegated stuff, I um got us lost. A drive that should have taken about an hour took much longer and we ended up having to go the LONG way around the Beltway. Emily was the epitome of grace and charm. She knitted on her sockpal sock. Can I say to Emily’s sockpal (I don’t know who you are-don’t ask, don’t tell), you are one lucky sockpal. They are beautiful and have come from the hands of one of the nicest, brightest, most grounded people I have ever met. So, we are lost and Emily made it fantastic by enjoying the moment (or at least pretend to) and telling me tales of her family and her life. Really, she is a bright ray of Sunshine and I am all the better for knowing her. I vote myself President of the Emily Ivey/Yarn Miracle Fan Club.

Man O Man In a Heap

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About a billion years ago I thought that I would knit a mitred square. Didn’t do it. Promptly forgot. I know you see where this is going, but humor me please. Thanks. Due to the small hollering boys I thought that knitting big things was impossible. And it pretty much is. Yes I know big things are made up of smaller parts but I am a bit thick. And constantly interrupted. It has taken me 5 tries to write the 80 words you see before the 80. So I do not knit nearly as much as I would like to. Yes, the boys do go to school. I spend those precious moments lying (laying?) in a heap while listening to Uriah Heep or feeling like Uriah Heap because I have been Hollering at the Small Hollering Boys. Or I just drink more coffee and pray the ground will swallow me whole because of All the Things Which I Should Be Doing While the Boys Are at School But I Am Not For Which I Will Burn in Hell.

Well, apparently when I met the dynamic duo last week I inhaled the crack. Man, was it G-O-O-D.


Really, really good. So good infact that even though I goofed this one up (too many stitches on the top half, wrong number of cast on stitches -even though I counted 3 times) I am downright balmy over here. Dreamy. Oh so dreamy. Oddball knitting. Oooooh Bab-BEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE! Oddballs for Oddballs, now there is an a-long I could get behind. Maybe it is the spring day we are having today, a brief respite before The Swamp that is Northern Virginia in the summer, but I am Giddy, Oh So Giddy. Can barely keep it in. How wonderful to feel this turned on by such a simple idea. The way I look at my stash will never be the same. That was some Migh-Tee Fine Stuff I inhaled. A frenzied stash dive yielded these combos:










A little washed out but you get the idea. No?

Woman in search of a sub-culture

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Well, it is the middle of April, might as well post. Sheesh. Funks are funny things and the best part of them is when they are over! Not all the way there yet, but I am forcing myself to stand in the light. And to not install wall to wall carpet in my rut. When I have the fountain diet coke machine plans drawn up, call for help.

What better way to pull out of a funk than to go and meet two of the most wonderful bloggers around? Got to meet Ann & Kayye last night! They are delightful. And funny. What can I say about them that hasn’t been said? Um, well they are quieter than I thought they would be and um, well let us see…very humble and very gracious. And and and I got to meet Buffy! The Sister and world famous champion eater! Okay, the fact that she is the size of a strand of my hair really aggravates me. But she is so nice and funny that I promptly forgot about her eating ways and the size of her waist. And we took pictures. Ann & Kayye were very indulgent of me and signed several (cough) books for friends of mine who aren’t the book tour circuit. It was wonderful to meet them and see them in action. Stitch DC is a great shop and very different from what I expected. Light, airy and has a great look to it. Many of the LYS here are cramped, dark and have a grandma’s attic feel to them. This was such a surprise and they served miniburgers and onion rings from the bar next door. I was talking with Bridgitte (Brah git tah) who is American born but has lived in Germany for a long while. She had NEVER EVER had an onion ring. I just about fell backwards. I mean, come on? An onion ring. Never? Crap.

Oh and the pictures:


Yes this is a picture of Ann’s back through the window while I was trying to park. Yes I got the time wrong and was so happy when I saw them I let out a whoop and a hollir and took a picture. Kayye is behind the white window pane. And I think Kayye is pretty convinced I am a stalker but she let me give her a hug, even though she is not a hugger. She does live in Manhattan after all. Here you go for another photo:


KT, Ann & Kayye. This is our happy picture. Shiny Happy People, indeed. Taken by Buffy!

This is our grumpy shot. For some reason we all agreed to look grumpy. I look like Uriah Heap and the two gals look great. Ann said she tried to look grumpy! Hah! See all that Southern Charm? And Kayye said she tried to look pleasant. See all that Northern Cool? She is one pleasant & cool cucumber! Man, I need to get my roots done. And my chins. Picture again by Buffy.

Great to meet all of you there and be greeted so warmly. Community is a great thing and very funk-busting.

Can I tell you how much it sucks to get out of DC to Virginia at night, by yourself with a broken mobile phone and a GPS that is like RainMan. A 30 minute drive took me an hour and a half to get home. I think I drove by the Jefferson Memorial about 800 times. And even ended up at the departures lane at Reagan Airport. Remember that Hardy Boys episode when they were in the old house and would open a door and there was a room there? And then they would close and re-open the door and there was nothing? That is how it felt getting home. But MAN it was good to get back to my hubbilicous. Jiggety Jig.

10 little blocks sitting on a wall

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Signing up for Block Swap was a risk and a lark. I didn’t know what I would do or where it would end up and I considered it a great adventure. My ten blocks are done. Each one taught me something different, each one is special, not perfect but special to me. Letting go and being willing to experiment and not follow rules was wonderful. At the beginning I thought the solid fabrics required for the swap weren’t all that attractive, especially the curry. I think it turned out to be my favorite. It makes things pop in a wonderful way! So without futher ado, the blocks!





































Off they go, in the mail tomorrow! What fun, I cannot wait to see what I get sent back to me from other quilters! Which one do you like, I would love to hear! Don’t like any of them, that is okay too. Let me know- I want to hear your thoughts…

Do you like Pina Coladas? Long Walks in the Rain? Dancing After Midnight?

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If so, then you might be my dear, darling Secret Pal, Susan. Yes, you Susan, who loves dark chocolate, animals, kids and likes to call herself “The World’s Worst Knitter”, which is a complete load of Hooey! It has been SO much fun to spoil you for the past few months and this is friendship is a joy. I have been holding back a bit on the blog because I haven’t wanted you to find out who I am or identify my particular writing style. Susan, you rock and I have loved every minute of our new friendship!

And a BIG Thanks you to Tammy, my SP7 hostess with the mostess! She sent me a lovely package with Socks That Rock, in Falcon’s Eye. And some Knit Picks Color Your Own for socks! There was Kool Aid and a fabulous Beanie Baby Lamb, notecards, soap and just general fibery love and goodness. Thank you Tammy, it has been a joy to become your friend. I will post a picture tomorrow as the small hollering boys are really acting up.

Craig and I took a mini-vacation Sunday to Tuesday. What a blast, we got to be tourists in our own town. Have you ever done that? Check into a local hotel (no not the places that rent by the hour, get your mind out of the gutter!), and see the sights in your own town? We moved here almost two years ago from Seattle and have never really spent any time in our Nation’s Capital, Washington D.C. Actually, D.C. is about 14 miles from our house but plenty of people who live here (Great Falls, VA) consider D.C. town and commute there everyday. So off we went to the Willard Hotel, which is awesome and about a block and a half to the White House. The Willard has more history than you can possibly shake a stick at. Everybody from Charles Dickens to Mark Twain to just about any other famous figure you can imagine, read here for more. They even had secret meetings to try and stop the Civil War there. Fascinating and a great way to learn more about the history of our nation on a personal level.

There was so much beauty to see, there was pattern and texture everywhere. When we walked into the lobby all I could say was”Honey! Look at the floors!” Beautiful mosaic everywhere.

The view from our room was incredible!




The Washington Monument is so startling and enormous. It may sound trite but seeing it in person is awe inspiring. They actually stopped construction of it for 25 years during the Civil War and when they resumed they used rock from the same vein that was used early, but as 25 years had passed it was a different color, you can see the line pretty clearly in this picture:


The World War Two Memorial is the newest memorial on the National Mall and it is beautiful. Here is the field of stars:



Could that be more lovely and moving? This is the middle section of the railing around the WWII Memorial. Look at this amazing bronze work commerating the naval aspect of the war:



Whew! More pictures tomorrow because we have late breaking news! Steve, our friendly UPS guy just left and look what he brought to Casa Lookie What I Made! Woooo Hoooo!!!!

This is a beautiful book, which I eagerly tore through and look forward to reading much more slowly and savoring every bit this evening. Off to chase boys (but not like high school).

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